Brave New Earl is the first in a new series by Jane Ashford which seems set to follow a group of gentlemen who have all experienced great loss, as they find their happily ever after. Benjamin, Earl of Furness, is still grieving his wife even five years after her death, so much so that he can hardly bear to look at his son Geoffrey since he sees too much of Alice in the boy. Consequently, Geoffrey is allowed to run somewhat wild and barely knows his father.
Miss Jean Somerset hears of her cousin Alice’s child being neglected and turns up on Benjamin’s doorstep in a righteous fury, determined to right things. Her passion largely comes from having been a neglected child herself, indeed an abused one. Her mother was clearly a manic depressive and the descriptions of the abuse Jean was subjected to are fairly graphic, including how Jean developed severe claustrophobia. Determined to protect Geoffrey from similar abuse, Jean is overprotective, amusingly so considering Geoffrey’s intelligence and determination. He’s a hilarious Plot Moppet of the best kind, one with his own arc within the story.
Jean was a great character, and I particularly liked her unruly hair - I have impossible hair of my own! Her childhood was brutal, but she had fought her way past it and made a life of her own despite that.
Honestly, I had less liking for Benjamin. He seemed ambivalent at best towards Geoffrey, which was utterly unfair. His trying to get rid of his son in order to be alone with Jean put a bad taste in my mouth, and he generally seemed more inclined towards letting Jean have her way as regards his son’s upbringing, than doing the right thing himself.
If you like your historicals without the sex-filled romps which seem to be de rigeur lately, this is a good one for you. There are a couple of fade-to-black scenes and some kissing, but that’s all.
The story didn’t quite seem to fit within the Regency period (one of my pet hate words in historicals, ‘gotten’, made several appearances) but it was still a charming and amusing read. I’m going to have to knock off a star for those ‘gottens’ though. Four stars.
Brave New Earl is available now in all major ebook stores.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.